“Oh, just like the good old days!” – Penny Halliwell (Charmed)
Yeah, I’m using a quote I heard on one of my favorite series, Charmed however this blog is not about that show (this time around).
*Don’t worry I will have a blog about this*
That quote emphasis my feelings on how Toonami was a strong impact on my and other fans of the 3 hour block of American action cartoons which soon went into anime territory.
Toonami, back in the day and not now, was an afternoon/evening block that introduced Moltar, a bad guy from Space Ghost, to be our host for the afternoon block.
Toonami replaced Cartoon Network’s “Power Zone” afternoon of action cartoons by Hanna Barbera like Space Ghost, Birdman and the Galaxy Trio, The Herculoids, Fantastic Four to name a few.
*The first host*
These cartoons came on Toonami when it aired March 17, 1997 with other editions such as The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest, Thundercats and Voltron. The block was an instant success on kids and even teenagers alike until we move forward a year and soon changes started coming.
The anime boom which was still underground from the late 80’s to early 90’s soon hit a massive wave by having Toonami drop some of the older cartoons and replace them with action anime’s like Ronin Warriors, Gundam Wing, Sailor Moon and the most popular that gave Toonami is hip card (by fans but not me) Dragon Ball Z.
*Rough draft of the past*
I can still remember when I was able to get Cartoon Network around late 97 or early 98, it was the most epic feeling for me! I was able to finally watch all the cartoons I wanted along with my growing fascination of having anime I knew be on this block of action!
Now I’m going by my memory of this, before Toonami, anime like Sailor Moon and Dragon Ball Z initially didn’t start out in Cartoon Network. They came on different stations before the switch hit.
I can clearly remember Sailor Moon starting around 94 being briefly part of Fox Kids before it went to an unknown station that I had to weekday mornings which I was able to catch it.
*Nothing to see*
For Dragon Ball Z I knew about that from Dragon Ball which came on Saturday mornings on WB before the “Kids WB” block started around 8 am. This was 3 to 4 years prior so whenever I hear some friends say “Dragon Ball Z started on Toonami” I am very bewildered in hearing that for that’s not the case. Of course around 98 I was like 13 years old when I watched so they were younger then me.
*Old dubbed before Funimation got it was awesome too!*
Another thing, before Toonami came on Cartoon Network showed “pre-cartoons” before the block and I remember Silverhawks popping up! I remember calling my mom at work informing her of another show I watched as a 5 year old and being very excited over it.
*One of the most badass song themes*
Due to Toonami, kids/teens soon started comprehending what anime is due to this block along with learning about how anime wasn’t just “a cartoon” but also a different way of telling a story without all the American-ized tropes we were use to seeing. It was Japanese culture being exposed to an american audience.
Fans of the period pretty much started learning the difference between subbed/dubbed, the animation studios that dubbed them to us (VIZ Video, Genon, Bandai) along with learning about voice actors and how the community was small at the time.
*Way to go!*
Toonami not only did that but it also was able to bring back more of the episodes concerning Sailor Moon “Black Moon arc” to finish that season, which was a bonus for me since I remember when it always ended with Prince Demande observing a picture of Neo Queen Serenity who turned out to be Sailor Moon’s future self.
*I remember asking people at Suncoast if the show would continue before Toonami got the rest of episodes 2 years before*
Ronin Warriors was another one that appeared on a different station before it appeared on Toonami and that was another successful show. Gundam Wing was another big show due to it being 52 episodes long.
*Decent dubbed casting and action*
As we move into the new millennium we soon got Tom who replaced Moltar and he certainly brought the boom. While some shows went to the wayside like Thundercats (which was sad letting go) other ones soon appeared in the forms of Outlaw Star, G-Gundam, Tenchi Muyo (all 3 series of the OVA/tv series/and the lackluster one) and even some DC shows like Superman for a hot minute and even ReBoot.
The times varied but Sailor Moon would start it off after it replaced Thundercats and it would end with either Dragon Ball Z or another show. Toonami would also correspond with Kid’s WB by bringing shows like CardCaptors to it’s block or DBZ on WB.
*The series might have had an okay casting in English but it ruined the integrity of this series by a mile. Fans were upset by the character’s portrayal*
Now even with all it’s ups there was some controversy, particularly the anime which could get raunchy; Tenchi Muyo had some heated moments with the female cast going to a hot spring and being in the buff. Due to censorship the animators of Toonami edited it to show them wearing swim suits…to a bath house.
Of course we were not allowed to watch things on public television but it seemed pretty tacky from what I remember. And of course the editing out of bad words or scenes from DBZ but it was to be expected. Sailor Moon also got put on the chopping board due to season 3 where Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune appeared; they were a same-sex couple but the series said they were “cousins”.
Yeah I know, shocking right? I can only imagine how the hardcore Sailor Moon fans reacted to that shit.
Toonami was still on it’s high during the 2000’s but there was something that was happening to make it wane a little; the ones who watched it around 97/98 were already in their late teens going into the 20’s and the quality of the epic afternoon/evening block was waning.
*Get’s the point across*
Some shows were beginning to seem stale and the quality of somewhat gone down. Along with how Miguzi seemed to try and take over the action block after a point. Toonami also had some scheduling issues. One moment it comes on Saturday’s from 10 to 12 or move to Midnight for a certain amount of time before falling into death’s door until it got it’s roots in the Saturday night shift.
It seemed doomed to fall until around the 2004/05 era when VIZ got the rights to distribute the popular Shonen anime “Naruto” and that seemed to be the bit of spice it needed. Everyone soon started yammering about the blond ninja, the emo and the useless girl.
*Nothing to say*
Of course with all that I forget to mention that Adult Swim got it’s hold on the late night shift around 2001 where it began airing “adult” quality cartoons and introduced us to Inuyasha.
*I was a big fan of this series*
So Saturday nights were Toonami until we hit the end of the era which was the sad 2008 time where it had it’s last broadcast with various small movies coming on during the Saturday line-up and ending in March.
Tom gave his last speech and flying into the sunset on some distant planet. I did see the end of the era and was a little disheartened that Toonami reached the end of the line but after an awesome 11 years, it was time to retire.
*This is goodbye, never to meet again. Right?*
So shocking when I found out around 2012 that a petition went around for a while previously thanks to social media (namely twitter) to find out Toonami would return and bring us back the goods.
At the time I was excited and happy that anime would have a good block and what do you know a cursing Tom due to it being part of Adult Swim. It was awesome at the time; sure, some shows were tacky but we got Toonami back.
Add to the mix of using Twitter hashtags for the shows, it was nice seeing what you say get retweeted by fans for the same love. Of course like everything there is an underbelly and when it gets exposed the shit hits the fan and starts stinking up the flower patch.
*Here it comes*
The fans. The extreme fans that fought hard to bring this back were rather vocal with how they expressed themselves. Anything close to a quip/snark/side comment of any of the precious sacred cows crossing the street would be met with a derogatory tweet at you.
Along with causing some to feel left out if the tweet didn’t get liked or retweeted due to a lack of interest or worse, become well known and notorious if you were on there (Toonami) long enough and appeared to just be having fun pointing out flaws in the shows.
I speak from experience sadly enough and even though their are ones who are cool with what you say the rest are just extreme. I mean butt-hurt extreme to the point it revolves around their lives.
*IK, my face exactly*
One time I got a tweet about some follower saying “he’d rather go to jail then miss Toonami”…the fuck?
For the life of me that sentence has always stood out to me which proved that extremism is a real thing. Don’t get me wrong, Toonami is a nice breather along with having some okay anime on the tube however it’s not THAT great.
In all honesty it’s really kind of a joke (from my perspective). Think about it, a niche audience supports it for 3.50 hours every Saturday night and even though it’s a decent service, the fanbase is small.
It barely impacts any major gathering due to some feeling like the Toonami fandom are elitist, say anything wrong or step out of line you are condemned to not being blessed by other fans or acknowledged for not taking a Kirito/Asuna scene seriously.
*Don’t say anything*
And don’t get me started with how the generic anime gives them such feel-boners that they say it in a tweet and feel the emotion of letting the tears fly. I mean really? First time I watched the last episode of SAO II when it came to Yuuki passing away, it touched a heartstring along with the music being on point but that was it. I didn’t get all weepy and shit.
*Running away now*
Next thing I know SAO II get’s dubbed and the floodgates open for that last episode like a hooker on ecstasy. Along with the fandom being split with lovers and haters having a small civil war of SAO being on Toonami.
It was amusing and annoying.
For me I did tweet about it and have my fun with it until I got the thinking that this line up very well could meet it’s end at any time. Seriously, Adult Swim runs this boat and it will not hesitate just to say “well, that was fun and all but it’s time to end this by 2020” more or less.
Not that’s going to happen but that’s my take on it.
As of now you are probably asking “J, do you still like or watch it?” and my answer is such, I dropped it.
It was more of the fandom being or acting like they don’t care about an objective opinion. I’m not just saying anything just to start a flame war, far from it, I’m just pointing out stuff randomly trying to understand or grasp why some stuff got hype for no reason, like Hesita from “Is It Wrong To Pick Up Chicks From A Dungeon” or “One Punch Man”.
Granted I know OPM is NOT supposed to be taken seriously since it goes against the trope and makes fun of Shonen in a tasteful way. I did watch or try to watch the first amount of episodes but realized it’s not my cup of tea and haven’t watched it since.
Yes, I’m one of the few anime fans that don’t give a crap for much hype that seems to be holding the younger generation by the balls. Good for them though for liking something but when it comes to pushing it down our throats as saying the gospel of “it’s the best anime ever” that’s when I have a problem with the damaged fandom of anime in general and Toonami.
I’m not sure why I feel this way or better yet I do but just afraid or don’t want to say it…that I’ve grown disillusioned with Toonami and some anime in general. I don’t take it “seriously” enough and having my own opinions or credentials as one who has been watching this stuff since I was 10 or 11 years old get spit back in my face by some corny, extremists who devote their lives to Japanese stuff to the point they don’t think they are American anymore and think living in Japan is paradise.
*All of my anger!*
Why do I say that? I was just like that when I was younger and having self-discovery issues with what defines me. I think I understand myself better now since I am opinionated with not sucking said anime’s balls to the point of praising the holy gospel of one I don’t care for and try not to say anything online.
The golden years of Toonami ended (for me) around 2005, that whole Naruto phase I went through was just that. Even though I liked it I couldn’t fathom the hate for one character I truly felt was undeserved but I’m a small, insignificant person who shouldn’t defend said character.
*Really proving your worth in my eyes*
Why do I have to do that for the purpose of a fictional character? That’s all that there is. Anime is fictional. It’s an outlet for telling either funny or intricate stories based on certain cultures or themes of the times. I do enjoy it for what it is, even though I refuse to watch any that go into trope territory.
Yes the fandom killed me and I just had to have the peace of mind to get out of it and not look back. The toonami i enjoyed was in my childhood and I’m going to keep it there.
The dream has ended and I’m content.
*The sorrow of the end*
Toonami will hold a place in my heart however I can’t keep perverting it out to think it’s the same from when I was a kid; back then we didn’t have twitter and shit and now, people’s inner hatred or extremism comes out in droves and I just don’t want to be a part of it anymore.
I believe the fandom is just damaged beyond repair. Sorry, I just can’t avert my eyes anymore and this is my feeling and no one is influencing my decision. If you like than just enjoy it what it is.
*Have fun my kouhai*
Have fun, make jokes and don’t let anyone tell you to shut up over an opinion. However my watch with Toonami and the “Toonami faithful” is over. Burn my wolf pelt to the ground, I’m done.
Nothing last forever, that’s something to keep in mind. Even Toonami will meet it’s end and sadly maybe for good so just have fun, okay?
Toonami you will always be golden within my heart. Sidenote, Steven Blum reprises his role as Tom so that’s cool.
Till next time and stay gold.
Here are some videos of the Golden Years of Toonami!